There are a number of aspects of our restoration project

Preservation of the oak frame and listed bells
The oak frame and bells 3 and 5 are over five hundred years old and are an important part of Laxfield’s heritage. The frame will be treated to help preserve it and the listed bells will remain in place in the original frame. The clock, will continue to chime using bell 5, while bell 3 will be configured so that it can be rung as a service bell. In addition, a walkway will be installed around the original frame so that visitors to the tower can appreciate its history and beauty.

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The existing oak frame

Installation of new frame and bells
A new steel frame will be installed in the room below the original frame. It will have capacity for eight bells. Bells 1, 2, 4 & 6 of our current bells will be removed and recast to ring as bells 3, 4, 5 & 6 in the new installation. Two brand new bells will be cast, they will both be smaller than our current 1st bell and will be bells 1(treble) & 2. Finally, we will install 2 bells that have been gifted to us by the Keltek Trust. They were originally cast in the 1920s by Taylors for Prinknash Abbey, but were never installed. Weighing 11cwt (575kg) & 17cwt (870kg) they will become bells 7 & 8 (tenor). Our new bells will be tuned so that they span an octave, so will sound far more musical than our bells do at the moment!

One important feature of our bells, that we’re pleased to preserve is that the new bells will also be rung in an anti-clockwise direction. It’s the way bells have been configured at Laxfield for centuries and is an uncommon set up.

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The unused Prinknash bells, shortly to be installed in Laxfield

Development of Educational and Heritage resources
Laxfield and District Museum will have been open for 50 years in 2020 and will incorporate this significant local community project as part of their celebration with the creation of a permanent exhibition and a documented historic record of all stages in film, audio, diary and online form. This is a community activity involving Museum volunteers, school pupils, and other village groups including church, chapel, youth group, local businesses, pubs etc.

The Museum has plans to create a permanent Laxfield bell heritage exhibition which will cover the history of the bells, include artefacts such as clappers and wheels, and show the recorded stages of this project using a variety of media.
Resources will be developed for use by local schools and history groups.

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Detail of one of the Prinknash bells

About

We hope you find our site interesting and return regularly to view progress on our restoration project via the webcam and the blog.

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